Final Exam: The Geopolitical Theory of Imperialism, The State as a Geographic Entity

Free «Final Exam: The Geopolitical Theory of Imperialism, The State as a Geographic Entity» Essay Sample

Describe the Geopolitical Theory of Imperialism and Explain How that Theory and Its Legacy Help Explain What Is Going on in the Culture of This Post-Colonial Town in Namibia

Geopolitics refers to a discipline that deals with the impacts of geography on both international relations and global politics (Mackinder, 1996 ). Some scholars have also defined geopolitics as a technique of studying global policy in order to comprehend, explain and predict global political behavior via geographical factors, such as climate, topography, natural resources, demography and applied science of a region. Essentially, geographical factors refer to circumstances, linked to physical location, which influence the humans living in a certain area (Mackinder, 1996 ). From this definition, it is important to note that there must be a specific geographical area, which in this case is a post-colonial town in Namibia.

On the other hand, imperialism is concerned with the need of ruling over large territories (Mackinder, 1996 ). In other words, imperialism is a strategy of extending the authority and power of a nation mainly through colonization, or deployment of military forces. Geopolitical theory of imperialism involves relating the effects of geography with various powers and influence of a nation has over a certain region. Lüderitz, a post-colonial town in Namibia, has association with Germany, which might be regarded to be practicing imperialism, though indirectly (Smith, 2015). The events happening at Lüderitz can be explained using geopolitical theory of imperialism. Moreover, the name of this town has its roots in Germany (Smith, 2015). The opposition from the residents to change its name exhibits the influence and power of it. The power and influence exhibited by this name translate to some form of imperialism exercised by Germany on their former colony. One can wonder how Germany continues exercising this power despite having colonized Namibia from 1884 to 1919 (Smith, 2015).

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Based on geopolitical theory, the first geopolitical event was the purchase of the town from the Nama Chief. Adolf Lüderitz purchased the town and placed it under the protection of Imperial Germany in order to prevent the intrusion by British (Smith, 2015). The actions of Adolf Lüderitz reflect some form of political conflict that existed between two imperial powers over an area, which is a geographical factor.  

Demography, as a geographical variable, can also be used in explaining these events. According to Knox & Marston (2004 ), demography refers to the study of human populations. Demographic studies can assess any form of dynamic living population, which is one that undergoes transformation as time changes (Knox & Marston, 2004 ). The people of this post-colonial town were originally hunters and gatherers. Demographically, they have undergone transformation to businesspeople with an ambition of benefiting from the name of town, which acts as a brand to themselves. If the !Aman community, a subtribe of the Nama, would not have undergone change, perhaps the name change of the town would not have had considerable impacts on them, such as loss of business brand (Smith, 2015).

In addition to the geopolitical explanation, forms of imperialism can provide an insight to the events taking place at Lüderitz (Knox & Marston, 2004 ). These forms include direct and indirect rule, economic imperialism, sphere of influence, and protectorate. Germany might have exercised some of these forms of imperialism in order to widen its territory, and exercise ruling over a wide area (Knox & Marston, 2004 ).

In the direct rule imperialism, the foreign officials from the imperial powers actively participate in the governing of the colony, and the natives are accorded no administrative positions (Mackinder, 1996 ). The imperial power of Germany practiced this form of imperialism during the early years of colonization. By placing Lüderitz under the Germany protectorate, Adolf subjected the town to the direct imperialism (Smith, 2015). From a logical point of view, the town could only have a Germany name through direct imperialism. As such, several years after the end of direct imperialism there were attempts to rename the town emerged.

In indirect imperialism, the imperial powers exercise ruling via some collaborating native rule, who are likely to benefit from the ruling (Mackinder, 1996 ). The objective of indirect rule was to westernize future administration of the region in order to perpetuate control. The existence of name of this town over the years was a sign of a westernized colony. The government of Namibia has used the German name for several years despite having the authority to change it since independence. Lüderitz is a legacy, which the Namibian government has preserved until the recent efforts of renaming it emerged (Knox & Marston, 2004 ).  

Economic imperialism refers a scenario where one nation uses its huge economic power to influence other nations with seemingly limited economic power (Knox & Marston, 2004 ). With regard to Lüderitz, there was some form of control exercised by Adolf Lüderitz before naming the town after himself. As a tobacco merchant, Adolf Lüderitz affected the political decisions and independence of the !Aman community, thus, he managed to influence the local authorities using money in order to rename !Nami≠nüs to Lüderitz (Smith, 2015). Economic imperialism of the 20th century is referred to as neo-colonialism. Having been a colony of Germany, Namibia still experience some form of control, especially because it is a developing economy (Smith, 2015). 


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Using Both Lecture and Readings about the State as a Geographic Entity, Describe and Explain the Current Proposal to Construct a Barrier between Kenya and Somalia

Virtually all contemporary theories reach a consensus that a state must have its own territory. However, there are no guidelines concerning the characteristics of a territory, neither in law, customer nor current practice (Ratzel, 1996 ). Territorial characteristics are essential for the formal recognition of a country or for its survival. It is evident that territories still do not guarantee survival in the modern world, which is marred with terrorism, trafficking and other activities that might be legal in one and illegal in other territory. States can only acquire territories under international law (Ratzel, 1996 ).

International law ensures that states exist as geographic entities. According to Ratzel (1996), a geographic entity refers to a feature occupying a position in space about which the attributes describing it are recorded. Moreover, a geographic entity is a discrete generic class with basic interdependence and connectedness as a single data set. The definition of a geographic entity can be used in the context of a state.

The existence of a territory recognized by international law is still not a guarantee for survival or recognition (Ratzel, 1996 ). For instance, Kenya has a territory recognized by international law but it still suffers from infringement of this law (Allison, 2015). These infringements are a threat to its survival and recognition. Undeniably, Ratzel (1996) referred to the state as a messy concept. In order to correct the messy characteristics of the state, Kenya has made proposals to construct a wall in one of its longest borders with Somalia, a war torn and failed state (Allison, 2015).

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The construction and effectiveness of wall are issues that receive equal measure of opposition and support (Allison, 2015). Those who acknowledge the notion of interdependence between states have frequently opposed the construction of a barrier between Kenya and Somalia (Allison, 2015). According to them, Somalia still depends significantly on Kenya, and constructing a barrier will get rid of this interdependence (Allison, 2015). Those discrediting the notion of interdependence, and view states as perfectly self-reliant entities, have strongly supported the construction of a wall between two nations. However, it is not logical for states to be fully self-reliant. Theories have pointed out that the selective interdependence exercised by states should not be regarded as self-reliance. For instance, Kenya and South Sudan might mutually depend on one another, while at the same time, Kenya might not depend on Somalia (Allison, 2015).

Historically, several cartographical borders have been strengthened using manmade barriers (Ratzel, 1996 ). Theories of selective interdependence between nations have been translated on to the global stage. A perfect application of the practice of selective interdependence is famous Great Wall of China, which was aimed at keeping the Mongol Hordes at bay (Ratzel, 1996). The Hadrian’s Wall was also another application aimed at safeguarding Romans from the Scots. The Berlin Wall has been considered as division between West German capitalism and East German communism (Allison, 2015). Several other manmade barriers, apart from walls, are evident separating nations, cultures, economies and societies. Israel has gone further to construct one of the world’s renowned walls that runs almost 500 miles long with alternative barbed wire and electric fencing (Allison, 2015).

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Kenya’s intention of constructing the wall or barrier is to protect oneself from illegal Somali immigrants, and most importantly the lethal al-Shabaab militants (Allison, 2015). Militancy was the eventual outcome of the fall of Somali government in the early 1990s. Since its failure, the Kenyan border with Somalia has been unsafe posing survival threats to the Kenyan government (Allison, 2015). As mentioned above, countries safeguard their territories in order to survive and to be recognized internationally. According to the strict supporters of a nation as perfectly self-reliant entity, this is a reason enough to construct a barrier between Kenya and Somalia (Allison, 2015). In order to avert the illegal immigration and militancy proliferation, Kenya must construct a barrier and discredit the mutual association with Somalia. 

The effectiveness of these barriers can only be measured by considering historical implementations, such as the Berlin Wall, Israeli Wall, the Great China Wall, and perhaps the Mexican-US border wall (Allison, 2015). The intentions of Kenya are similar to those of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and China, namely to prevent illegal entry and the spillover effects of insecurity. The concept of the state as geographic entity, however, supports interdependence between nations (Ratzel, 1996 ). Consequently, the increasing rate at which cartographical borders are being converted into barriers is worrying. Perhaps, the world might eventually witness barricaded countries, where reliance will be a forgotten thing.

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Theories have differed concerning the effectiveness of these barriers (Allison, 2015). In addition, some of the walls have been regarded as a success, while others are a failure. For the case of Israel, people have backed that the wall has achieved majority of its intended objectives. Allison (2015) quoted 293 deaths arising from suicide bombing three years prior to the construction of the wall. The author also quotes that the figure reduced to about 64 after the construction, which signifies a reduction. Consequently, attacks from Palestinian terrorists have decreased significantly after the construction. However, some scholars have pointed out that the wall between Israel and Palestine cannot account for the decrease in suicide and terrorist bombing. According to these scholars, political stability in Palestine accounts for a significant reduction (Ratzel, 1996 ).

Kenya, like Israel, shares a border with South Sudan and Uganda, which also suffered from political instability and conflicts (Allison, 2015). At the time of conflicts in Uganda, particularly during the reign of despotic Idi Amin, Kenya had no intentions to build a border. Similarly, Kenya did not resolve on building a barrier between itself and South Sudan, but it is now contemplating on constructing one between itself and Somalia (Allison, 2015). The responses of Kenya show selective treatment of its neighbors, which can be likened to the selective interdependence of states. As a geographical entity, a nation has the right to choose whom it mutually cooperates with (Allison, 2015). It can be argued that despite instabilities in Somalia being a threat to the survival and international recognition of Kenya, Somalia is not a high priority county to Kenya. 

Explain How Regulation Theory Allows You to Understand the Relations between the Local Economy and Politics of Seattle, Washington

The regulation theory has been frequently selected as conceptual model for comprehending changing (James, 2009). The British Research Council, for instance, selected regulation theory in 1995 when initiating study program on local governance. In several senses, regulation approach refers to a method, as well as an analytical framework, rather than a theory. Nevertheless, several principle characteristics define the regulation theory as unique theory of the policy process (James, 2009). The characteristics of regulation theory can help in comprehending the local economy and politics of Seattle, Washington.

Firstly, different from other approaches and methodologies, James (2009) suggested that the approach is based on critical realist ontology and epistemology. Ontological realism is concerned about determining what exists by seeing the entities that are appropriately and best endorsed by scientific theory. In other words, ontological realism is philosophical proposition, which deals with existing things, as well as their existence (Brenner & Theodore, 2002). On the other hand, epistemological realism refers to philosophical postulation that knowledge concerning an object exists independently of the mind. It is also simply referred to a subgroup of objectivism (Brenner & Theodore, 2002). With regard to Seattle, Washington, the emphases of regulation theory are to comprehend the generative mechanisms and structures influencing the actual movement of social forces, which accept that these structures and mechanisms may not be observable, as well as that there may be a distinction of reality and appearance (Brenner & Theodore, 2002). 

The second defining feature is that it is mainly based on Marxist assessment of neo-classical economic theory, which is an approach relating supply and demand to rationality of an individual and his or her capability to maximize profit or utility (Brenner & Theodore, 2002). According to James (2009), capitalism is irrational socio-legal approach with long-run self-sustaining equilibrium, which implies that it is prone to crises. Regulation theory highlights the crucial loopholes and drawbacks occurring in Seattle, Washington during the accumulation of capital, and the conflicting characteristics of social relations.

The third characteristic of the regulation theory is that it defies Marx’s proposition of economic crises by arguing that it underemphasized the degree to which social regulation can stabilize capitalism (Brenner & Theodore, 2002). According to James (2009), the regulation theory focuses on the capability of temporal spatial solutions in the fixing of capitalism. By concurring that capitalism is vulnerable to crises, regulation theory focuses on the transformational combination of extra-economic and economic institution and practices that assist in securing certain predictability and stability in capital accumulation regardless of the principal conflicts created. Consequently, the theory distinguishes the role of social agency and institution in the transformation of structures (James, 2009). It also regards how capitalism development and crisis are mediated via certain institutions and practices. Therefore, it seems to avoid functionalism over determinism. The change from the governance of accumulation is frequently contingent instead of automatic. According to James (2009), the regulation theory portrays itself as a way of collecting international comparisons and macro-economic tests with the objective of identifying certain typical configurations of development modes and their crises.

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When the crises of capitalism are alleviated, regulation is said to have taken place. An effective regulation of capitalism in Seattle, Washington should integrate the shaping of the economy into an efficient regime of accumulation. According to James (2009), these are temporary phases of sustained economic growth, which are rare, and spatially specific. Most importantly, the effectiveness of the regime needs efficient regulation across political, economic and social institutions that must combine in order to create stability. Nevertheless, some form of regulation consisting of political and socio-cultural institutions also accompanies regimes of accumulation. According to Brenner & Theodore (2002), this is because capitalism is a system marred with conflicts. The political and socio-cultural institutions in Seattle, Washington assist in securing polity while an effective accumulation regime is in place.

Regime of accumulation is defined by certain institutional forms, which are specific configuration of social relations for any given period of geographical location, including Seattle, Washington. In Seattle, five significant institutional forms on which the regulation theory highlights include the forms of monetary constraint, types of competition, alignment of the nexus between labor and wage. insertion techniques into international regime, and forms of the state.

Explain How Electoral Geography, Place and the Politics of Identity, and New-Social Movements Theory Help You to Understand Harvey Milk’s Role in the Urban Politics of San Francisco

Harvey Milk played a crucial in the politics of San Francisco. Gay people have regarded Milk’s participation in politics of San Francisco as a dedication to making the government approachable by this social movement. Milk played a significant role in gay liberation, and made the government responsive to needs of neighborhoods to the city (Brown & Knopp, 2010). Throughout out his campaign, Milk expressed the belief that neighborhoods fostered unity. Despite majority of the gay people in the Castro District not having children, Milk strongly opposed the closing of elementary school. Milk’s effect on the politics of San Francisco can be attributed to the fact that he was not like the previous holders of the office in the city (Brown & Knopp, 2010). Perhaps, he was the first recognized administrative gay office holder in the city.

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Electoral geography refers to the evaluation of the techniques, practices and outcomes of elections in relation to geographic space with geographical techniques. According to Brown & Knopp (2010), electoral geography is the assessment of the bidirectional interaction whereby territories influence political decisions and the geographical structure of electoral system influence the results. The main purpose of electoral geography is to distinguish and comprehend the driving factors and the electoral physiognomies or territories in an integrative way. In relation to Harvey Milk, Castro District was the geographic space. It can also be argued that Castro District offered Milk a geographical structure, through which he was capable of influencing the election results (Brown & Knopp, 2010). Because Milk belonged to this unique geographic space, where only gay community lived, he could perfectly represent them in the politics of the city. Milk’s sexuality and association with Castro District enabled him to earn the votes of this community. Brown & Knopp (2010) pointed out that gay involvement in the community politics of San Francisco did not come about because of the urban transformation, but in an opposition to it.

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